Here are some frequently asked questions . . . and our best answers, for now.
What things do I need a Building Permit from the Building Department for?
- New Residence
- New Commercial structure
- Additions to existing buildings
- Structural alterations – inside and outside
- Accessory buildings i.e. garages, any size shed
- New Roofs
- Pools—of all types: inflatable, above-ground, and inground pools, hot tubs
- Tennis courts
- Finished basements
- Oil tanks (see below, other types of permits)
- New masonry fireplaces
- Woodburning stoves, pellet stoves, fireplace inserts
- New or replacement of stairways
- New window openings or increase in size of existing windows
- Changes in commercial space for same or new tenant or owner
What other kinds of permits does the Building Department issue?
- Temporary TENT permits
- Electric permits (taken out directly by your electrician and inspected by one of three electrical inspection agencies approved yearly). For 2014 the agencies are:
- New York Electrical Inspection Services
- Commonwealth Electrical Inspection Service, Inc.
- State Wide Inspection Services
- Plumbing permits (taken out directly by your plumber with work inspected by the Building Inspectors.
- Mechanical Permits for abandonment, installation and removal of oil storage tanks (taken out directly by the Company doing the work and inspected by the Building Inspectors)
- Mechanical Permits for installation or replacement of Propane tanks and lines
- Wetland Permits
- Fill Permits
- Blasting Permits
*Before we will issue any of these permits we check to make sure that each contractor has a current Westchester License.
When does a contractor need a license to do work at my property?
The following types of work require that the contractor be licensed. You may check to see if they ARE licensed by using the links provided and selecting the database that applies:
- Home Improvement
- Septic installation and repair (look in the middle of page under green box for link to Licensed Septic Contractors)
Why do I need a permit for so many things?
The permit process is designed to provide the best assurance that minimum building and safety standards are met. History clearly demonstrates that when minimum standards are not consistently fulfilled and maintained, unwarranted losses result from fire, structural failure, flooding, premature and often accelerated depreciation of the improvement. Additionally, the permit process provides assurances that all improvements meet zoning requirements.
When do I need to use a NY Licensed Architect or Professional Engineer (P.E.) for what I want to do?
Chapter 92-4 D. (5) (b) of the “Code of The Town of North Salem” requires all construction documents, i.e. plans and specifications, to be prepared by a NYS registered Architect or licensed Professional Engineer. Said requirements are further specified in Article 147; Section 7307 of the NYS Education Law.
What are the fees for Building Permits, Certificates of Occupancy, and Certificates of Compliance?
Permit fees are based on the “cost of construction” (defined as the fair-market-value cost of all labor and materials to complete the permitted work). Fees are currently calculated as follows:
· Building Permit - $50 base fee plus $12 per $1,000 cost of construction
· Certificate of Occupancy - $1 per $1,000 cost of construction ($50 minimum)
· Certificate of Compliance - $50
For a complete list of fees, please go to Chapter 85 Fees Chapter 250 Zoning D.
Who is the “General Contractor” and what is the connection between that entity and Workers Compensation Insurance?
By NY State definition, the “General Contractor” is that entity (he/she/business) who pays the subcontractors, e.g. the carpenter, plumber, electrician, laborer, mason, etc. Likewise, by State Law, the “General Contractor” is required to have Workers Compensation Insurance. and submit proof of same in a form satisfactory to the Workers Compensation Board
Won’t my taxes go up if I do the work with a Building Permit?
A good question that should be directed to the Assessor who will determine what increase, if any, will be added to your property’s assessed valuation, which is the amount that is multiplied by the “tax rate” to determine your property taxes.
Why do I have to “legalize” something that was existing when I bought my
house—something that I didn’t do? – or something I did do but didn’t know I needed a permit for?
First, it’s required by law. Typically, these matters come to light via title searches that are done, usually at the request of a lender during the sale or re-finance of your house are much more stringent than they used to be even a few years ago. A Title company will compare the records for Building permits and certificates of Occupancy or Completion that are kept by the Building Department with an actual physical inspection of your house. For example, a shed that has been on your property for 20 (plus or minus) years—and was there when you bought your house, but never had a permit or Certificate issued for it may not have been a problem when you bought the house; however, when a Title search is done today for the sale of your house, this non-permitted shed must now be reconciled by you, the seller even though you did not put the shed there. The same is true for things such as decks or finished basements for which there is no record of a Building Permit having been issued.
The direct answer is that if something was done in your house or on your property that required a Building Permit after 1961 when the Town of North Salem adopted the NYS Building code, by law it needs to be legalized and satisfy all applicable Code requirements. When you are selling your house this becomes an “emergency” to reconcile and after December 31, 2009 the fees for legalizing as-built improvements begin with a $1,500 fee plus the customary fees for a building permit and certificate of compliance.